Episode 18 Simon Robinson
Hattingley Sparkling Wine

British wine use to have a reputation, but not one we wanted. Now it’s taking on the French at their own game with some of the best sparkling in the world. As chair of Wine GB Simon is the perfect guest to chat to to find out why and how.

If you’d said to Simon Robinson in 2008 that his Hattingley Valley vineyards would have the capacity – in a really good year – to produce 580,000 bottles of wine…or that his sparkling rose would be crowned a world champion, he would have said you were crackers.

And yet, in just over a decade, Hattingley  and other GB newcomers have done brilliantly in what is a very old industry…even though in the early days our efforts were written off as being poor copies of German varieties like Riesling and  Muller-Thergau.   

In this conversation you’ll discover why our sparkling wines are now doing so well and why Simon calls his sector ‘agriculture on steroids’:  it will make your eyes water when you do and you’ll wonder why on earth he gave up his partner position at a city law firm to go on such a rollercoaster…

Episode 17 Michael Stoates
Stoate and Sons traditional miller

Michael Stoate is a fifth generation miller in Dorset, whose family have been producing stoneground flour since 1832.  That means he knows a lot about flour.  It was the era when sailing ketches would carry the flour across the Severn to Swansea and return with coal for the mills. As a teenager he thought he’d be an engineer but he had so much fun getting his hands dirty in the holidays he couldn’t help but join the family business.
 

In this conversation you’ll learn about the wonder of wheat germ – the embryo of life, which gives bread its gorgeous flavour – and what really happens to it in modern mechanised milling… That might help you work out how bread now can last for days, but when you were a kid, or in France, it lasted just a few hours.
 
And you’ll see how Michael has adapted to the ever-changing bread scene: from the lows of the late 80s and 90s, when his whole-food shop market disappeared to brighter times, with our growing interest in continental breads, artisanal baking and sourdough.
 
I learnt a lot, and I hope you do too.  Enjoy x

Episode 16 Karen Richards
Capreolus Charcuterie

When David Richards was made redundant from his sales director role, finding a new one at 50 was very hard. Luckily, he had always loved cooking and smoking cuts of meat in the garden, so when his wife Karen suggested that there might be a business in curing, they gave it a shot.

10 years later their company, Capreolus, has won countless awards for its ever-increasing range of mouth-watering charcuterie and smoked foods, from pancetta and air-dried pork loin to the magnificently named Rampisham Tingler Salami.

In this edition you’ll discover why it’s so important to get the right sort of business funding – if you can; why the fat of rare breed animals is the star of good charcuterie… and what it’s like dealing with restaurant food crazes, where smoked venison might suddenly replace air-dried beef, and you realise, with a sinking heart, that you have no venison on the premises and a six month lead time…

Episode 15 Nick Leach
Fellow of the Institute of Hospitality

In terms of career variety, I doubt if many  can match Nick Leach’s 4 decades in hospitality. One of his first jobs was working as the King of Saudi Arabia’s personal chef on a £9 million motor yacht. After that he found himself ‘catering to excess’, for merchant bankers in London, where £25,000 a week was set aside for caviar alone – served in huge swan ice carvings.

This was in stark contrast to his next role as General Manager at Kings College Hospital, where his daily budget per patient was £1.76 – and that had to cover 7 hot drinks a day, in addition to breakfast, lunch and dinner.

For the last 18 years he’s been drawing on this wealth experience to manage the catering at the University of Portsmouth.  In any one week he has a potential 29,000 hungry students and staff to feed…and he still makes time to take his chefs to see local food producers – from the organic dairy and flour mill to the free-range chicken farm.

Amazing man, amazing stories.  Enjoy!

Episode 14
Ceri Cryer – Brinkworth Dairy

In 1910 Ceri Cryer’s great-grandfather established the country’s first ever pedigree Friesian herd of cows, in a beautiful corner of Wiltshire.

A hundred years later, Ceri is doing her family’s farming history proud: the Friesian descendants produce the milk which Ceri turns into award-winning cheeses – from the traditional Wiltshire Loaf to newcomers, such as the oozilyunctiuous  Royal Bassett Blue.

In this conversation we discover where Wiltshire cheeses feature in Jane Austin’s novels…and how each batch of Ceri’s cheese is influenced by a mind-blowing number of factors, starting from the herbs her cows nibble in the fields

That’s in addition to exploring the real cost of milk and yoghurt, and why Ceri is unlikely to give you a discount, but her husband Chad might …

Plus you’ll get Ceri’s top tips on how not to waste a crumb of food.  This includes feeding leftover home-made mead to the pigs, with some interesting results….

Enjoy the conversation